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Stone quarries in the Lebanese village of Ain Dara where a giant cement factory was proposed to be built. Sunniva Rose / The National
Stone quarries in the Lebanese village of Ain Dara where a giant cement factory was proposed to be built. Sunniva Rose / The National

The Stone quarries in the Lebanese village of Ain Dara where a giant cement factory was proposed to be built and the stone crushing panty were ordered to be shut down by Judge Ghada Aoun. She made the decision after finding out that the owner Pierre Fattouche, a discreet business tycoon with interests across several countries including Armenia and South Sudan, did not obtain a license.

This development comes after the local residents rejected  the construction  massive cement factory that was  supposed   to export  its products to Syria.

Some reports indicated that Fattouche was working on behalf Maher al Assad,  brother of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad and his relatives.

After eight years of civil war, more than a third of Syria’s infrastructure has been destroyed. Assad said last year that reconstruction would cost between $250 – $450bn.

The  Ain Dara  residents  say the factory, expected to produce about 3 million tonnes of cement a year, would harm underground water reserves and pollute the air.

Lebanon and Syria have a complicated love-hate relationship. Lebanese politicians who side with Damascus argue that their country needs strong ties with its more influential neighbour. Their opponents accuse the Assad regime of human-rights violations and of meddling in Lebanese politics. In 2005, Syria withdrew its troops from Lebanon after 29 years of occupation following allegations of involvement in the assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.

Lebanon’s   politician, Walid Jumblatt, is a fierce critic of the Syrian regime and of  Fattouche. He calls the

Ain Dara quarries
Ain Dara quarries

quarries and the cement factory project an “environmental crime” and accuses the tycoon of pursuing Assad interests in Lebanon.

According to environmental experts , Ain Dara ,  the beautiful  tiny village  in  the Shouf District of MT Lebanon is surrounded by a pine forest .  The scene of the stone  quarries and crushing plant have  done tremendous damage to its environment , air quality and beauty

 

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